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What is a Windshield Decal?

Felicia Dye
Felicia Dye

A windshield decal is an item that is attached to the front glass of a vehicle. This is often done as a legal requirement to denote that a person has fulfilled some type of requirement, such as paying her local taxes. In some cases, however, windshield decals are purely decorative.

The specifications of a windshield decal can greatly vary. It is common for these items to be the means by which certain information is communicated to authorities. In many jurisdictions, there are laws that require drivers to display windshield decals that verify that they have paid their local or personal property taxes.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

In many instances, the windshield decal verifies that a vehicle is roadworthy. People are commonly required by law to have their vehicles inspected on a periodic basis, often annually. If the vehicle meets all of the requirements outlined by the laws of a given jurisdiction, the driver is given a windshield decal to affix to the glass, which communicates to law enforcers that her vehicle is safe. When decals are required by law, such as in the instances above, operating a vehicle without them is usually a violation. The result of such a violation is that a person may be warned to cease operating the vehicle and is likely to be fined.

There are times, however, when a windshield decal may be purely decorative. Some, for example, include symbols or names of auto manufacturers. There are people who believe that these items add to the appeal of their vehicles. There are also some people who will install a windshield decal that stretches across the entirety of the front glass to help reduce the glare of the sun.

Whether windshield decals are legal when they are not required by law varies from one jurisdiction to another. In some places, these items may be considered obstacles of a driver’s visibility and may be outlawed. If a person puts one in his vehicle in this instance and it is discovered by law enforcement, he is likely to be found guilty of a violation, punished with a fine, and ordered to remove it.

Whether windshield decals are installed to meet a legal requirement or due to personal preference, they are generally designed in a similar manner. Most are self-adhesive, meaning that they will stick to the glass without adding any type of glue to them. Once they are affixed, they tend to form a tight bond with the glass, and the edges may not be obvious. Although attaching them can be fairly simple, removing them is often difficult and may require a sharp object such as a razor blade.

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